How sherry got chic | Daily Mail Online

Mention the word ‘sherry’ and most of us picture that thimble of sweet amber nectar that Granny enjoyed while cooking the Sunday roast.

These stalwart cream styles, such as Croft Original, still sell by the truckload each Christmas. But for the real aficionados, the only sherry worth its salt is bone-dry.

These moreishly saline dry varieties are enjoying a renaissance with younger generations — and there are trendy sherry bars popping up worldwide.

Sherry, from a triangle of towns in Spain’s Andalusia, was historically fortified to save it from spoiling while in transit. But the real magic happens after fortification.

A small amount of space is purposefully left in the barrel so that, as the liquid ages, humidity causes a thin layer of yeast called ‘flor’ to develop on top of the wine.

While the cream styles, such as Croft Original, are still popular at Christmas, it is bone-dry sherry that has become popular 

Whether this flor layer remains, and for how long, then defines the final style of the sherry.

If you are ready to reacquaint yourself with this liquid treasure, here are six to try . . .

Tio Pepe Fino, £13 for 75cl, Sainsbury¿s

Tio Pepe Fino, £13 for 75cl, Sainsbury’s


Tio Pepe Fino, £13 for 75cl, Sainsbury’s

Fino is a pale and bone-dry style that’s as crisp as a newly ironed shirt — and has a roasted, salted almond note with hints of apple.

Incidentally, the famously sweet ‘cream’ sherries that Granny loves are often Fino with added concentrated grape must (squeezed grape juice) or grape syrup. 4/5


Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado, £16.50 for 75cl, Ocado

Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado, £16.50 for 75cl, Ocado

Gonzalez Byass Vina AB Amontillado, £16.50 for 75cl, Ocado

Amontillado is what you get when the flor is removed after a certain period of ageing, by adding a slosh of brandy. 

The result? A darker, amber colour with notes of roasted nuts, tobacco, spice and dried fruit, plus a tangy saltiness. 5/5

Pedro Ximenez

The Best Pedro Ximenez, £7 for 37.5cl, Morrisons

PX, as it is affectionately known, is a sweet style of sherry made with very ripe, white, Pedro Ximenez grapes, which is then aged in barrels for a long time — sometimes decades — to achieve a thick, treacly consistency and flavours of dried fig and baking spice. 3/5


No.1 Emilio Lustau Dry Oloroso, £13.49 for 75cl, Waitrose

Made deliberately without flor and subjected to extensive ageing, Oloroso is the darkest dry sherry style and is full-bodied, silky-smooth and intensely nutty, with notes of dried raisins, figs and salted caramel. 

Stunning alone, it also pairs excellently with mature cheeses and game. 3/5

Palo Cortado

Very Rare Palo Cortado, £8.50 for 37.5cl, Ocado

Palo Cortado is the style to ask for in a bar if you want to show off your sherry skills, as it combines the dryness of Amontillado with the nuttiness and body of Oloroso. 

Think tangy, salted almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruits, toffee and vanilla. It’s what the hipsters are drinking! 5/5


La Gitana Manzanilla, £9.75 for 50cl, Tesco

Manzanilla is the seaside cousin of Fino and has a maritime vibe, but with a characteristic chamomile note. It also tends to be a touch lighter and more saline than Fino. Great with savoury snacks. 3/5